President Iohannis says Romania has always supported EU enlargement policy toward Balkans

President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday delivered a message to the opening of a conference on defence co-operation of the Chiefs of Defence/General Staffs of the Balkan Countries - CHODs Balkans in which he says dialogue in this format adds value to regional co-operation and helps strengthen stability and security in the Balkans. The message read out by Secretary of Romania's Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT) Mihai Somordolea says this co-operation format brings together friendly states of Romania from the Balkans region - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. "As a member of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance, Romania pays special attention to the countries in this region and supports their rapprochement to the European and Euro-Atlantic family. Romania has always supported European Union's policy of enlargement to include the Balkans, and when it held the presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of this year, Romania dealt with the enlargement of the European Union toward the Western Balkans as a priority. At the same time, Romania will remain a strong supporter of the open doors policy of the North Atlantic Alliance and is glad to witness the significant positive developments in this area of the Balkan countries. Congratulations also on this occasion to Montenegro on its 2017 accession to NATO," Iohannis underscored in his message. Iohannis also showed that the prospect for North Macedonia's accession to NATO and the encouragement to Bosnia and Herzegovina by the North Atlantic Alliance at the NATO Summit in Brussels last year are additional successes of the two countries and NATO that Romania has backed. "Romania is concerned about the security climate in the Western Balkans region and wants irreversible stabilisation of this area. The Romanian military has participated over time in various missions of the United Nations, the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union in the area. And it will remain a major contributor to the Western Balkan theatre of war, as part of the NATO KFOR mission in Kosovo and EUFOR ALTHEA, the European Union, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and will continue to support efforts to increase stability and security in the Western Balkans," Iohannis said. He mentioned that the participation in the 13th meeting of the conference proves the usefulness of this format of co-operation, at the level of the chiefs of the defence/general staff. Iohannis said that dialogue in this format generates added value to regional co-operation and helps strengthen stability and security in the Balkans. "The themes of this year's conference debate - defence co-operation, crisis management, the challenges and limitations of peacekeeping missions under the aegis of the UN - are of real interest to Romania and to all participants in this meeting. Defence co-operation, as well as the exchange of opinions and good practices in the field of crisis management at the level of NATO allies and partners are needed today, given the swift changes in the security environment and the unpredictability of the risks to the stability and security of the region. At the same time, the UN's role in crisis management was and it remains crucial to preserving peace on a global scale," said Iohannis. The Romanian head of state highlighted the main responsibility of the UN Security Council for maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. "As many crises today have a multidimensional character, the UN Security Council must play a more important role in resolving many issues that affect international security. I want to reiterate Romania's support for multilateralism, including support for the United Nations. This long-lasting commitment to peace, justice and sustainable development is the essence of Romania's position," reads the presidential message. AGERPRES (RO - author: Mihai Simionescu, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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